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Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix

The Musical Instrument Museum is located in the northeast corner of Phoenix. We went there in May with my daughter and a friend who was visiting from out of town.

One of the coolest things about this museum is that you are issued a headset that uses wifi to bring you the audio for the exhibits. Wear the headset and approach an exhibit with audio and you will hear music, narrative, or other sound related to the exhibit. It works pretty well, even when there is more than one "hot spot" within a small area.

The museum is much bigger than we expected. Most of the exhibits are laid out geographically, showing instruments from different countries. There is also a gallery with famous instruments, such as John Lennon's piano,


Eric Clapton's guitar,


and a drum from the Beijing Olympic's opening ceremonies.


There is an Experience Gallery, where you can try out a wide variety of instruments from around the world. Many of them are percussion instruments, so you don't need lots of lung power or fine motor skills to get a sound from them, which makes this a great space for young kids. Finally, there is the Target Gallery, which houses special exhibits.

When we visited the museum in May, my daughter was more tolerant of her stroller. This allowed us to go through most of the galleries with her in the stroller and few complaints. I'm not sure I would bring her back to the main galleries now that she is done with her stroller because she would probably want to run and slip underneath the rails to touch the items in the collection. The wifi headphones worked well in the exhibit halls, but they did not provide a headset for my daughter. I occasionally tried to share my headset with her, though she wasn't terribly interested at the time. If I were to visit with her now, though, she would probably want her own headset. I recently called the museum, and they said that headsets are available for children who pay youth admission or enter free, so be sure to ask about it if they don't automatically offer one for your child. My guess is that my daughter wasn't offered one because they thought that a child in a stroller wouldn't want one.

On one of the occasions when my daughter wanted a break from her stroller, we took her to the Experience Gallery. She really enjoyed being able to try out the instruments. We also spent time outside the stroller in the Target Gallery. At the time of our visit, the featured exhibit was on Latin music in the U.S. There were several booths representing the sounds of different U.S. cities (e.g., the Cuban-influenced music of Miami). Each booth had about 6 buttons that you could push to hear an entire song. My daughter loved dancing to the songs in the booths! Hopefully exhibits that have been in this gallery since that time have similar interactive exhibits, which everyone can enjoy.

Admission: Adults $15, Seniors (65+) $13, Youth (ages 6-17) $10, Children 5 and under free
Best for: the main exhibits are best for kids who are happy in their strollers or older kids who can manage the headsets. The Experience Gallery is good for all ages. If your group has more than one adult, they could take turns hanging out in the Experience Gallery with an active toddler while the others visit the exhibits.
Website: http://themim.org/

Posted by amikulski 20:36 Archived in USA Tagged children museums music

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